Memphis Tutoring Program Going National Because of Success

(Memphis) A tutoring program started at a Memphis City School is seeing so much success it’s being expanded into other parts of the country.

Every day around a thousand students in Memphis and parts of Mississippi are tutored through the peer power program started by an East High alum at his alma mater.

The program will soon start-up in Arizona. 

Charlie McVean trades commodities with his firm McVean Trading and Investments.

He started out as a student at East High School and now uses his success to give back and promote even more success, “In our 9th grade math classes we have a lot of kids come in with 5th, 6th, 7th grade types of math backgrounds.”

So McVean started Peer Power, an intense after school tutoring program to get students caught up. 

The goal is to have more one on one attention like the one room school houses where his mother taught.

“Nobody is going to do anything until they’re motivated to do it and they make up their own mind and they say hey I need to work to do this because it’s going to help my life later,” said McVean.

When the program started at East high seven years ago the graduation rate was about 60%.

But now because of their program the graduation rate is 80% for participants, and they’re making progress with act scores too.

The program also promotes competition and a business like atmosphere to constantly raise the bar for tutors and students.

Tutors are upperclassmen who are recruited and go through a three-week summer training program and must maintain their expertise to stay employed. 

They can make around ten dollars an hour.

 “When those young people are saying I sat in the same desk you sit in and I went through the same things you are going through now. Now tell me why you can’t succeed,” said the program’s director Bill Sehnert.

Peer power is now in eight schools across the Mid-South, and McVean’s putting his money where his mouth is because it takes almost a million dollars a year to fund the program.